Steps to Take After a Slip & Fall Accident

wet-floor-225x300Falls are the most common reason for emergency room visits in the U.S. each year. This type of accident accounts for 1 million ER visits yearly. A slip and fall can happen anyplace, in a residential setting or a commercial setting. Falls frequently take place at a grocery store, big box store, hotels, and in the work place.  A slip and fall can be caused by a neglected spill on the grocery store floor, a broken step or faulty hand-railing at a restaurant, a slippery pool deck on a cruise ship, and a myriad of other causes. None of us set out on our day expecting an accident but slip and falls are very common and one of the most frequent types of personal injury lawsuit. As Rhode Island slip and fall attorneys at Tapalian Law, we see people injured in slip and fall accidents on a regular basis. Injuries from a fall can range from a minor or severe injury and can be fatal. Slip and fall accidents can also be very expensive. Walmart was hit with a $7.5 million lawsuit from a 2015 slip and fall accident that took place in one of their Alabama stores.  If you or someone you love have been injured in a fall, slip and fall injury lawyer David Tapalian can help you determine if you are eligible for compensation.

Common Injuries from Slip & Fall Accidents

Injuries from a slip and fall can range from very minor, a bump or bruise, but can also be quite serious or fatal. In fact, half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).  Injuries are habitually more severe in the elderly. Fractures are a very common fall injury and can be grave. Other fall related injuries are sprains, torn ligaments, head, back, neck, and shoulder injuries, brain injury, concussions, and spinal cord injuries. Falls make up 87% of fractures seen among those over the age of 65 and are the second leading cause of spinal cord and brain injury. Check out a previous Tapalian Law injury blog for potential slip and fall hazards and how to prevent them.

Elements of a Rhode Island Slip & Fall Case

In a potential slip and fall injury lawsuit, there are some important questions your RI slip and fall attorney will look to answer.

Duty– Did the owner of the property where you fell have a “duty of care” to protect those coming onto the property? A property owner, whether residential or commercial, must use a degree of caution and concern that a prudent and rational person would use under similar circumstances. For example, if you are entering into a grocery store the day after a snow storm, one would expect the property owner to keep the walkways maintained and free of snow and ice for customers.

Breach of Duty– Did the owner breach this duty of care? In the example of the grocery store, did the owner breach the duty of care by failing to remove snow and ice leaving the walkways slippery for customers to potentially slip?

Causation– Did this breach cause injury or harm? Did you, the customer, slip and fall on a patch of ice on the walkway causing a broken arm?

Damages– These can be economic damages (ie. hospital bills, physical therapy costs, lost wages) or non-economic damages (ie. Pain and suffering, reduced quality of life). Did you incur damages for the broken arm such as medical bills, lost time away from work, physical therapy costs, etc.?

Slip & Fall Law in Rhode Island

Rhode Island personal injury cases follow the Comparative Negligence Law. Simply put, this means that if a plaintiff (the injured person) is proven to be hurt and awarded compensation, they may still be found to be partially at fault and awarded a percentage of the damages. In the case of the slip and fall on an icy grocery store walkway, if the grocery store provided video surveillance showing that you were horse playing on the icy walkway for five minutes prior to slipping and falling resulting in a broken arm, the grocery store may claim that you are 30% responsible for the accident. If this is found to be the case, the store may only be on the line for 70% of the damages, with you being responsible for the remaining 30%. So, if your incurred damages amount to $10,000, the grocery store may only be obligated to pay 70% of them, amounting to $7,000. You would be responsible for the remaining $3,000.

Rhode Island General Laws section 9-20-4

What to Do After a RI Slip & Fall Accident

  • Report your injury to the property owner and complete an incident report.
  • Take photos of the incident location right after the accident, prior to any clean up or repairs being made.
  • Seek medical attention for your injuries.
  • Contact a Rhode Island slip and fall personal injury lawyer, like Tapalian Law.

Contact a Rhode Island Slip & Fall Injury Lawyer After Your Accident

If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident, whether at a grocery store, restaurant, a friend’s home, or the workplace, do not hesitate to seek the legal advice of a skilled RI slip and fall attorney like David Tapalian. Big companies have experienced lawyers on their side, so should you. A practiced personal injury attorney may seek video surveillance, witness statements, photos, and prior incident reports deemed applicable to your injury case. Slip and fall accidents can get very expensive with emergency room treatment, surgery, physical therapy, and time lost from work. If your fall occurred due to the lack of reasonable care or maintenance by another person or business owner, you should not be left paying for the high costs. Seek the experience of slip and fall lawyer David Tapalian for a free no-obligations consultation for your injuries. Contact Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000, or reach us online.

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